Weather intervenes to spare Kiwi blushes as India takes stranglehold of opening test
The weather intervened almost mercifully for New Zealand as they struggled to stay afloat on the third day in the opening test against India in Hyderabad.
Only 38 overs were possible in the day and during that time the visitors had been dismissed cheaply in the first innings and forced to follow on when heavy rain washed out almost all of the afternoon sessions.
Play had begun late on the third day, due to the heavy rains that had beaten down on Hyderbad in the hours preceding the scheduled start time. India, though, made the most of the overs available to them, especially when having to deal with the lower order of a team that had come into this series without a warm-up game.
Spinner RavichandranAshwinwas India’s star claiming six wickets as New Zealand were dismissed for just 159 and forced to follow on..
An unbeaten 43 from James Franklin was the best the Black Caps could muster and certainly spared some of their blushes as they slumped from an overnight score of 106 for five to be skittled out at lunch.
Ashwin finished with stunning figures of six for 31 while fellow spinner PragyanOjha added three for 44 as India ensured a first-innings lead of 279 and left New Zealand facing the follow on.
The Kiwis improved slightly in their second innings, reaching 41 for one before heavy rain halted play for the day.
Franklin began the day on 31 but could do nothing to prevent wickets disappearing at the other end thanks to some masterful bowling from India.
The visitors had added just five runs to their overnight score when Kruger van Wyk was trapped lbw by UmeshYadav for a duck.
Doug Bracewell managed to at least get off the mark but found himself walking back to the pavilion on 17 after missing a flighted ball from Ojha which resulted in wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni whipping off the bails.
Ashwin then came to the fore and mopped up the three remaining New Zealand wickets in just four overs.
Jeetan Patel was caught and bowled by the India spinner for 10 before Ashwin completed his five-wicket haul by removing Trent Boult on four – GautamGambhir taking the catch at short leg.
Chris Martin then fell to Ashwin’s next delivery to leave New Zealand facing an immediate return to the crease and the prospect of a heavy defeat.
The Black Caps reached 26 in their second turn but then saw another wicket fall to Ojha, who removed Martin Guptill lbw for 16.
Fellow opener Brendon McCullum was also on 16 while Kane Williamson had added three runs when the weather intervened, much to the relief of the visitors
When play resumes on Sunday, New Zealand will be hoping for a much improved batting display from their frontline batsmen if they are to salvage some positives from the test. Somehow the chances of heavy rain interceding on their behalf seems brighter than the likelihood that their batsmen would rally round and come up with a more disciplined performance.